I Pita The Fool That Doesn’t Like Hummus

ALEX HEAD from Social Pantry has written a wonderful Autumnul blog post on ChicP... with a delicious recipe from us too! 

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There’s a lot to be said for a good dip; they’re a delicious way to jazz up a dull desk lunch and can bring dinner parties to life when paired with a fresh crudités. As much as I try to make everything from scratch, there are some fantastic packaged dips on the market at the moment and one of my favourites is London-based ChicP.

Tired of bland, unoriginal supermarket versions, ChicP founder Hannah set about creating dips from surplus vegetables otherwise destined for the bin. The colourful range (all made using a base of chickpeas) includes Beetroot & Horseradish, Herby Hummus and Carrot & Ginger.

Hannah has created this quick, tasty falafel recipe using the best-selling Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric dip as the key ingredient – perfect in Autumn to enjoy with salads, add to hearty soups or wraps or to eat with a warm chicken dish. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic diets for centuries to boost the immune system and help prevent disease – this dish is great to give your immune system a boost when the weather dips low. Enjoy!

Ingredients Makes 10-12 falafel 2 pots ChicP Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric hummus 200g plain flour or (brown rice flour for a gluten-free option) 1 tbsp coconut oil (for frying) Method 1. Place the contents of both the hummus pots in a bowl followed by the flour. 2. Mix well with a spoon until the hummus and flour are completely mixed together. At this point, you can opt to add a few of your own ingredients if you want to add some flavour such as chilli powder, chopped herbs etc.. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour. 3. Now get your hands stuck in and roll the mixture into as many balls/patties as you can. I like mine to be around 3cm long, nice big bite sizes. 4. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and when the pan and oil are nice and hot, place the balls into the pan, around 5-6 at a time. 5. Heat for around 3-4 minutes on each side until they are nice and browned. They should be cooked long enough so that the inside is nice and hot. 6. Serve straight away or keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. They’re also great to freeze! Recipe courtesy of ChicP.

Ingredients
Makes 10-12 falafel
2 pots ChicP Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric hummus
200g plain flour or (brown rice flour for a gluten-free option)
1 tbsp coconut oil (for frying)

Method
1. Place the contents of both the hummus pots in a bowl followed by the flour.
2. Mix well with a spoon until the hummus and flour are completely mixed together. At this point, you can opt to add a few of your own ingredients if you want to add some flavour such as chilli powder, chopped herbs etc.. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour.
3. Now get your hands stuck in and roll the mixture into as many balls/patties as you can. I like mine to be around 3cm long, nice big bite sizes.
4. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and when the pan and oil are nice and hot, place the balls into the pan, around 5-6 at a time.
5. Heat for around 3-4 minutes on each side until they are nice and browned. They should be cooked long enough so that the inside is nice and hot.
6. Serve straight away or keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. They’re also great to freeze!

Recipe courtesy of ChicP.

ChicP's Summer of Festivals

Here, there and everywhere!  The journey of ChicP at this summer’s festivals

Summer 2017 has been a busy spell for ChicP.  Aside from our brand spanking new packaging, I’ve been hopping from one festival to the next, keeping the hummus lovers happy and the wonky veg away from waste!  Here’s a round-up of ChicP’s summer of fun:

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Field Day Festival – 3rd June

Kicking off the festival season in Victoria Park, Field Day gave festival-goers their first taste of ChicP for the summer.  Collaborating with Soffles Pitta Chips - in their FANTASTIC pitta-mobile – we started setting up accompanied by nothing else but other food vendors, meeting and greeting each other, and asking to borrow bits and bobs.  It was incredible to see the park’s setting transform from being beautifully empty to a total sea of people by midday!  And we really felt the gradual increase in people, with lunch-time being slow and steady and then mid-afternoon suddenly seeing our hummus pots and the pitta chips flying off the stall, with everyone pre-snacking before the music got going.  At that point, I have never seen somewhere SO busy, with hordes of people filling what-had-been empty spaces.  It was a fantastic festival to be a part of, merely for watching the mish-mash of characters walking in – sometimes covered in glitter, sometimes in fancy dress, or sometimes in something else!  It was a scene that I won’t forget, and festival-goers really enjoyed learning what ChicP was all about.

Glastonbury – 21st-26th June

They don’t get much bigger than this!  Partnering up with Olive in a Bus in their red hippy van, ChicP arrived the day before the Glasto party begun and set up our Somerset-home for the week near one of the main entrances.  I found it was a fantastic opportunity to show off ChicP’s multi-use, with the hummus displayed both as a part of Olive in a Bus’s mezze platter and as hummus pots again with Soffles Pitta Chips.  The famous family-feel of Glasto really becomes a reality when experiencing the festival as a food vendor, with everyone from young children to grandparents coming to try our products.  It was amazing to see them sitting around the nearby benches enjoying their snacks whilst immersing themselves in this historic festival.  For me, it was without a doubt the best Glastonbury I’ve ever been to – not only was it SUNNY the entire week, but the line-up (including Chic headlining on the Sunday afternoon) was phenomenal.  All of this made it extra lucky that ChicP were there for this year, and we absolutely loved our time!

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Lambeth Country Show – 21st-22nd July

Brockwell Park was ChicP’s next festival destination, and what a fun weekend it was!  Lambeth Country Show shared many similarities with Field Day, not only in terms of the festival-style itself but ChicP got the chance to have another ride in Soffles pitta-mobile! We had a very early start and parked up right next to the busy cocktail tent (where Soffles had been the year before).  The music here was fantastic – none more so than the amazing instrumental brass band who were walking around the festival and stood by our stand performing for ages!  Whilst people came up to buy their pitta chips and hummus, and stood listening to the band, I could see just how much effort everybody had put into dressing up.  The constant flow of customers (rather than Field Day’s surges) made it easy for me to appreciate the different genres of music here, from local choir singing through to the reggae really kicking off on the Sunday evening.  And thanks to lots of crowds asking us where the Dog and Duck race was, I was fascinated by the diversity of entertainment on offer.  A fantastic festival for ChicP, both in brand awareness and overall enjoyment!

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Port Eliot - 27th-30th July

Having been to Port Eliot in previous years, for me this one was the best yet.  ChicP were there in full swing, with our own gazebo stand which was decked out with wooden boxes, ChicP décor and glass bowls.  We were based right in front of the main estate house, which was a fantastic spot!  I had 5 friends helping me out with this one, and the company was most definitely needed – we needed to stay upbeat during the three days of totally torrential rain!  Although those days were quieter for us, ChicP was met with an incredibly warm reception from customers.  Our hummus tubs were the main product, sold as a three-pack variety accompanied by our surplus fruit and veg salad boxes.  I’d collected all the produce needed for these from New Covent Garden market and prepped them prior to arrival, producing a large variety - including aubergine salad, tahini and butternut squash salad and a complete range of roasted vegetable toppings to make ChicP a complete meal.  We also put up a breakfast option (which went down a treat with hungry-girl demands) using our Banana, Avocado and Cacao hummousse topped with Primrose Kitchen granola and fresh natural yoghurt – an energising little bowl of heaven!  This beautiful event located on the river went incredibly quickly, and I met a lot of people from London who were delighted to learn that ChicP was available to buy when they got back home!

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Wilderness – 3rd-6th August

And then came one of my favourite festivals!  Based in Cornbury Park near Oxfordshire, Wilderness is so local to me that it would have been almost rude if ChicP hadn’t been there!  

Not too big, not too small, this picturesque setting for a lovely summer weekend has incredibly pretty lakes that many people hop in for a quick swim in the morning.  To experience Wilderness alongside Olive in a Bus once again was fantastic – in the same mezze style as we served at Glastonbury – and was made even more of a success thanks to our great location next to the cider tent in the main courtyard-y area!  Festival-goers really loved them, sitting on grass and hay bales to enjoy their food, with our whole range fitting in perfectly with the bright and colourful scenes passing us through the festival!  Maybe ChicP will have its own van next year to show hummus off in all its glory?!

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Soul Circus - 18th August

Our penultimate festival was an incredible yoga event with some absolutely fabulous teachers.  Soul Circus, based in Gloucestershire, showcased the extreme realm of yoga in one weekend, with every session being led by teachers pushing their bodies completely to the limit – absolutely incredible!  I can safely say that (bar the popularity of ChicP) the biggest result to come out of Soul Circus was my completely changed opinion of the practice!  It was great for ChicP to be contributing as a part of the first big event for the main catering service, Solar Kitchen.  There was a diverse spread on offer too – bright and colourful vegan salad dishes (using pulps), energy balls, turmeric lattes and (of course) hummus.  ChicP was the option for the main lunches every day, and presented in a big bowl looked like a beautiful rainbow!  Being in the VIP area next to the catering area was very special as well, and our spot meant we could see everything being in the middle of all the events going on. Amongst the yoga was a story tent, cycling tent, music stages and bars – which together formed a big circle of spectacular entertainment!  I thoroughly enjoyed the day here, it was great to see what it was all about and we had a fantastic response to the hummus.

River Cottage – 28th-30th Aug

ChicP’s summer festival fun ended on an incredible high at River Cottage.  An event founded and led by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – and being a camping festival for the first time this year - we were lucky enough to experience yet another beautiful setting.  We set up on the Friday night in a fantastic location in the market-place tent.  Being a stone’s throw away from the River Cottage itself was incredible, as we could see for ourselves the setting for where the cookery school, recipe book exhibits and even weddings happen!  It was great fun being surrounded with around 10-20 other exhibitors, ranging from honey cider to a sausage roll stand that sold out every day!  ChicP were being paired with PopChips this time around, and the bustle of the families around our table in the fantastically fortunate weather created a great atmosphere.  Having driven down in a car full to the brim with hummus, I had been worried that we may have brought too much – but what was I thinking too much?!  ChicP completely sold out bar one pot by the Sunday evening, which I was incredibly happy with.  On a more personal note, Sunday was a particularly special day for me, being fortunate enough to be contributing in the on-stage panel, alongside Hugh and two other sustainable brands, Snact and Toast Ale.  The tent was absolutely bursting with people listening to our discussion - with people stood outside of the marquee as well, all we could see was people!  This showed just how popular Hugh is, and it was a fantastic experience to be introduced to such an intrigued crowd by him.  We all explained our businesses, and then there was a Q&A with him and all of us.  This snippet of the weekend really did reinforce my drive and ambition to keep doing what I’m doing, with everyone giving random rounds of applause during the middle of the questions, staying behind to ask questions individually, and coming up to the ChicP stand to talk to me afterwards!  I couldn’t have been happier with how the weekend went, and what a way to round off the summer!

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ChicP Hummousse Tray Bake by @nibsetc

In the off chance you are friends with a professional hummus maker, make your own, or got overexcited about the ChicP cacao hummousse at Wholefoods, then keep on reading.

And even if the above does not resonate with you?  Keep reading anyway.

Having just completed my first show as and with nibs etc. [!!!] as is always the case post trade show or in this case, Balance Festival, there are insane amounts of waste.  From packaging to food, it makes me itch with frustration.  The benefit of being a trader?  You are actually in a slightly better position to save it from the bin.  On the other hand, my fridge is now so over stocked I can’t even remember what’s where.

NO MATTER. We’ll bake it all into breakfast cakes.  Starting with this one.  Special delivery from Alara Oats – which just so happen to be UK grown and milled by water-power [how cool is that] resulting in a very low carbon footprint and coincidentally very delicate oats – perfect for grinding, and potentially bircher muesli-ing [recipe to come... maybe…] – plus copious amounts of ChicP Cacao Hummousse from my Balance Festival stand partner [and fellow food waste fighter] and an insatiable appetite for all things breakfast [especially when breakfast is baked into cakes], equates this: Hummousse Tray Bake nibs etc. original recipe. Makes 1 Ingredients: 2 / 150g Banana 1 1/4 cup / 290g Cacao Hummousse [I used ChicP - Sweet Cacao Hummousse] 3 tbsp / 30g Olive Oil 2 tbsp / 40g Honey 1 cup / 100g Ground Oats/Oat Flour [I used Alara – gluten free porridge oats] 1 cup / 80g Shredded Coconut 1 tsp Baking Powder 1/2 tsp Baking Soda Pinch Salt 50g / 1/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips/Chopped [I used 70%] Method: Combine the wet ingredients: mash your banana with a fork into your baking bowl.  Add the hummousse and mix well until fully combined and as smooth as possible.  Then pour in the olive oil and honey and mix again until entirely incorporated. Preheat your oven to 170*C Fan/180*C/375*F, and lightly grease with oil/olive oil a 19cm x 9 cm / 11" x 7.5" [or there abouts] baking pan. Then add the dry ingredients to wet – if using whole oats, blitz down for a couple of minutes until as fine and soft as can be [porridge oats will be best for this as they are milled finer by nature, hence, Alara]. When all ingredients are mixed through and combined, pour into your baking tin, and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the tin half way through. You could eat straight from the hot tray for gooey effect [I personally would not judge you…] but it is better to allow to cool [stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes if impatient like me] 3/4 of the way.  This will make a sturdier slice and more substantial breakfast [the cooler it is, the denser, and the less likely you are to consumer the half the tray in one sitting.  And no I am not guilty of this.  Just saying]. Serve with Coconut Collaborative [FAVOURITE coconut yoghurt – that from a regular dairy yoghurt fiend], and muddled berries. Consume: For breakfast, afternoon tea, dessert. Alternatively, top with: quark, salted-caramelised banana and fresh orange slices, or vanilla / cardamom custard, The Collective - Straight Up Yoghurt [my personal fave dairy yoghurt] with griddled stone fruit [in summer], or any seasonal fruit compote of choice. Substitute cacao hummousse with regular, unsalted hummus and add a tablespoon or so of cacao – note: not tested.  

NO MATTER.

We’ll bake it all into breakfast cakes.  Starting with this one.  Special delivery from Alara Oats – which just so happen to be UK grown and milled by water-power [how cool is that] resulting in a very low carbon footprint and coincidentally very delicate oats – perfect for grinding, and potentially bircher muesli-ing [recipe to come... maybe…] – plus copious amounts of ChicP Cacao Hummousse from my Balance Festival stand partner [and fellow food waste fighter] and an insatiable appetite for all things breakfast [especially when breakfast is baked into cakes], equates this:

Hummousse Tray Bake
nibs etc. original recipe. Makes 1

Ingredients:
2 / 150g Banana
1 1/4 cup / 290g Cacao Hummousse [I used ChicP - Sweet Cacao Hummousse]
3 tbsp / 30g Olive Oil
2 tbsp / 40g Honey
1 cup / 100g Ground Oats/Oat Flour [I used Alara – gluten free porridge oats]
1 cup / 80g Shredded Coconut
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch Salt
50g / 1/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips/Chopped [I used 70%]

Method:
Combine the wet ingredients: mash your banana with a fork into your baking bowl.  Add the hummousse and mix well until fully combined and as smooth as possible.  Then pour in the olive oil and honey and mix again until entirely incorporated.
Preheat your oven to 170*C Fan/180*C/375*F, and lightly grease with oil/olive oil a 19cm x 9 cm / 11" x 7.5" [or there abouts] baking pan.
Then add the dry ingredients to wet – if using whole oats, blitz down for a couple of minutes until as fine and soft as can be [porridge oats will be best for this as they are milled finer by nature, hence, Alara].
When all ingredients are mixed through and combined, pour into your baking tin, and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the tin half way through.
You could eat straight from the hot tray for gooey effect [I personally would not judge you…] but it is better to allow to cool [stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes if impatient like me] 3/4 of the way.  This will make a sturdier slice and more substantial breakfast [the cooler it is, the denser, and the less likely you are to consumer the half the tray in one sitting.  And no I am not guilty of this.  Just saying].
Serve with Coconut Collaborative [FAVOURITE coconut yoghurt – that from a regular dairy yoghurt fiend], and muddled berries.

Consume:
For breakfast, afternoon tea, dessert.
Alternatively, top with: quark, salted-caramelised banana and fresh orange slices, or vanilla / cardamom custard, The Collective - Straight Up Yoghurt [my personal fave dairy yoghurt] with griddled stone fruit [in summer], or any seasonal fruit compote of choice.
Substitute cacao hummousse with regular, unsalted hummus and add a tablespoon or so of cacao – note: not tested.

 

A BEAUTIFUL BLOG ABOUT CHICP FROM NATURALLY PEACHY

Everyone loves Hummus and no one as much as ChicP founder Hannah McCollum who has turned her passion for hummus into a flourishing business founded on an amazing ethos. Hannah uses only surplus fruit and vegetables to create delicious, healthy and exciting hummus. The UN Food and Agricultural organisation estimate that one third – yes you read that right ONE THIRD of all food produced for human consumption is wasted each year! Much of this is ‘ugly’ fruit or veg that is apparently unfit for human consumption. This is something that we just can’t get our heads round – it all looks the same anyway once it has been juiced, chopped or mashed! Why won’t we  buy a carrot that is a little on a wonky side or a potato that  has a few nobbles, who are we kidding, perfection is over rated anyway, and the crazy thing is that there is nothing wrong with these vegetables apart from aesthetics!…and we thought we were entering the age of equality!

Everyone loves Hummus and no one as much as ChicP founder Hannah McCollum who has turned her passion for hummus into a flourishing business founded on an amazing ethos. Hannah uses only surplus fruit and vegetables to create delicious, healthy and exciting hummus.

The UN Food and Agricultural organisation estimate that one third – yes you read that right ONE THIRD of all food produced for human consumption is wasted each year! Much of this is ‘ugly’ fruit or veg that is apparently unfit for human consumption. This is something that we just can’t get our heads round – it all looks the same anyway once it has been juiced, chopped or mashed! Why won’t we  buy a carrot that is a little on a wonky side or a potato that  has a few nobbles, who are we kidding, perfection is over rated anyway, and the crazy thing is that there is nothing wrong with these vegetables apart from aesthetics!…and we thought we were entering the age of equality!

We applaud entrepreneurs such as Hannah who are doing something about this dire situation…and there is something we can all do to help, starting by supporting amazing brands like ChicP. We spoke to Hannah about how ChicP came about, what consumers can do to help reduce food being thrown away and why she likes to eat her hummus for breakfast, lunch and dinner…. You were previously a private chef, how did you first become interested in cooking and creating new recipes? I went to cookery school where I did lots of experimenting with food and recipes and after that I did a lot of jobs where I was put in the hands of clients and started creating recipes for them. Over time I started to use the left over vegetable dishes that were perfectly good, they were still fresh and delicious, and blend them to  make different dips and all sorts of other dishes from the surplus food. I would cook frittatas and quiches from the left overs and thats where I got the inspiration to create new recipes and be sustainable, to not waste food. What inspired you to create ChicP? I was going home after work every evening from my office job in central London and finding that when I went to the supermarket there was no healthy hummus or anything that had a sustainable touch. I was always going home and turning my leftovers into hummus each evening because that is the only kind of thing I wanted to eat – so I thought there was a gap in the market for something that was healthy using raw vegetables and sustainable. Where did you get the inspiration to use surplus vegetables for your hummus? I was doing a lot of events and could see the amounts of wastage, not just vegetables but steak, fish, cakes…anything you can think of! I then realised that there was a lot of press about vegetables that weren’t being used in supermarkets because of their shape or size and I wanted to do something about it.

We applaud entrepreneurs such as Hannah who are doing something about this dire situation…and there is something we can all do to help, starting by supporting amazing brands like ChicP.

We spoke to Hannah about how ChicP came about, what consumers can do to help reduce food being thrown away and why she likes to eat her hummus for breakfast, lunch and dinner….

You were previously a private chef, how did you first become interested in cooking and creating new recipes?

I went to cookery school where I did lots of experimenting with food and recipes and after that I did a lot of jobs where I was put in the hands of clients and started creating recipes for them. Over time I started to use the left over vegetable dishes that were perfectly good, they were still fresh and delicious, and blend them to  make different dips and all sorts of other dishes from the surplus food. I would cook frittatas and quiches from the left overs and thats where I got the inspiration to create new recipes and be sustainable, to not waste food.

What inspired you to create ChicP?

I was going home after work every evening from my office job in central London and finding that when I went to the supermarket there was no healthy hummus or anything that had a sustainable touch. I was always going home and turning my leftovers into hummus each evening because that is the only kind of thing I wanted to eat – so I thought there was a gap in the market for something that was healthy using raw vegetables and sustainable.

Where did you get the inspiration to use surplus vegetables for your hummus?

I was doing a lot of events and could see the amounts of wastage, not just vegetables but steak, fish, cakes…anything you can think of! I then realised that there was a lot of press about vegetables that weren’t being used in supermarkets because of their shape or size and I wanted to do something about it.

Why is there such a massive amount of surplus veg? It is difficult – a lot of it is to do with supermarket standards and what is seen to be fit. I have visited a lot of farms and been shown what is acceptable and goes through as a ‘class 1’ and that is because of their shape or their size –  the right colour carrots or cucumbers. They are graded a green or an orange and they have to be exactly what the supermarkets require. The ones that are not are taken down a different conveyor belt and are sorted and sent off to to markets and farmers are loosing out on a huge amount of money  that they should be getting for their vegetables whatever shape or size they are . They go to markets and are used for other things but still there is a lot of waste. What can we do as a consumer to help this situation? It is about being more open minded, and stop worrying that our carrots aren’t straight, trying to shop locally and support local farmers. It’s not just about vegetables but what you choose on the menu at restaurants too. It is trying to be sustainable, eating less Beef, trying to eat locally, trying to eat as many vegetables as you can. Maybe have meat twice a week rather than five times a week and just buy less and use what you have got in your cupboards. Also buying local vegetables that are in season rather than ones that have come from miles away.

Why is there such a massive amount of surplus veg?

It is difficult – a lot of it is to do with supermarket standards and what is seen to be fit. I have visited a lot of farms and been shown what is acceptable and goes through as a ‘class 1’ and that is because of their shape or their size –  the right colour carrots or cucumbers. They are graded a green or an orange and they have to be exactly what the supermarkets require. The ones that are not are taken down a different conveyor belt and are sorted and sent off to to markets and farmers are loosing out on a huge amount of money  that they should be getting for their vegetables whatever shape or size they are . They go to markets and are used for other things but still there is a lot of waste.

What can we do as a consumer to help this situation?

It is about being more open minded, and stop worrying that our carrots aren’t straight, trying to shop locally and support local farmers. It’s not just about vegetables but what you choose on the menu at restaurants too. It is trying to be sustainable, eating less Beef, trying to eat locally, trying to eat as many vegetables as you can. Maybe have meat twice a week rather than five times a week and just buy less and use what you have got in your cupboards. Also buying local vegetables that are in season rather than ones that have come from miles away.

What are big supermarkets doing? There are lots of initiatives. Sainsbury’s have got a 2020 plan and Tesco are doing what they can to reduce waste on every level throughout the supply chain . All supermarkets are doing a  better job than they were – there is just still a huge amount to do and it is difficult because it is hard to judge the buyers behaviour. It starts with the packaging and the ordering from the manufacturing level of all foods right down to the consumers plate.  It needs to be judged better and there need to be regulations to prevent food being thrown out at the end of the day because of what it says on the label, as it is usually absolutely fine.  Is it important for you to use locally sourced products and support British farmers? Very – it is what I am trying to do. At the moment I am getting all my vegetables from Spitalfields as I am not making the quantity, but the idea is to grow the business so that I can get all my vegetables from British carrot growers, parsley growers etc. With the bananas and avocados obviously it isn’t possible to buy local, but there are always going to be bruised bananas and avocados in England so that won’t be a problem. Have you always been environmentally minded? I was always the one at school who hated seeing things wasted, I was always turning lights off, saying ‘don’t use too much fairy liquid!’, recycle, recycle! It has always been something that is a big part of me really and that is the reason I wanted to start ChicP, to do something with food that is really sustainable – otherwise I would have never started a food company.   Tell us how you created the brand and developed the products? I started a business plan at work and spoke to so many people about it. I got my friends to trial it then I went to London markets with it, bought all the surplus and then trialled it on friends then came up with names. Finally when I had enough backing around me with people saying I should really do this – I did a big event in London -the first ever Fare Healthy. I was accepted by the organisers who said they really loved the product and they loved what I was doing, so I used that as my first opportunity and it was a great success! This led me on to carry on and develop the brand. I did further branding, loads of developing and getting my name out there. I would go to every event possible , every start up event, with samples to get feedback. Why hummus? It is a really easy product to make and so versatile, I love it, everyone loves it! You can have it with anything and it is an amazing product to eat with every single meal and something people can eat for breakfast and dessert! It can be changed if consumer trends change too. We make a sweet hummus too which is just getting people’s minds round the concept, because chicpeas don’t taste of anything you can really play around with the recipes. When should we eat hummus? It is full of protein so it is actually a really good start to the day. I would happily say, either a normal hummus or a savoury hummus with toast and avocado in the morning, is an extremely healthy breakfast as there is absolutely no sugar. Alternatively the sweet hummus has banana and avocado and  is a really yummy healthy chocolatey hummus as there is no refined sugar and it is full of energy. Otherwise for lunch, as a side, as a snack. I mix it in to pasta , have it in meat or in sandwiches. I use it in every meal!

What are big supermarkets doing?

There are lots of initiatives. Sainsbury’s have got a 2020 plan and Tesco are doing what they can to reduce waste on every level throughout the supply chain . All supermarkets are doing a  better job than they were – there is just still a huge amount to do and it is difficult because it is hard to judge the buyers behaviour. It starts with the packaging and the ordering from the manufacturing level of all foods right down to the consumers plate.  It needs to be judged better and there need to be regulations to prevent food being thrown out at the end of the day because of what it says on the label, as it is usually absolutely fine.

 Is it important for you to use locally sourced products and support British farmers?

Very – it is what I am trying to do. At the moment I am getting all my vegetables from Spitalfields as I am not making the quantity, but the idea is to grow the business so that I can get all my vegetables from British carrot growers, parsley growers etc. With the bananas and avocados obviously it isn’t possible to buy local, but there are always going to be bruised bananas and avocados in England so that won’t be a problem.

Have you always been environmentally minded?

I was always the one at school who hated seeing things wasted, I was always turning lights off, saying ‘don’t use too much fairy liquid!’, recycle, recycle! It has always been something that is a big part of me really and that is the reason I wanted to start ChicP, to do something with food that is really sustainable – otherwise I would have never started a food company.

 

Tell us how you created the brand and developed the products?

I started a business plan at work and spoke to so many people about it. I got my friends to trial it then I went to London markets with it, bought all the surplus and then trialled it on friends then came up with names. Finally when I had enough backing around me with people saying I should really do this – I did a big event in London -the first ever Fare Healthy. I was accepted by the organisers who said they really loved the product and they loved what I was doing, so I used that as my first opportunity and it was a great success! This led me on to carry on and develop the brand. I did further branding, loads of developing and getting my name out there. I would go to every event possible , every start up event, with samples to get feedback.

Why hummus?

It is a really easy product to make and so versatile, I love it, everyone loves it! You can have it with anything and it is an amazing product to eat with every single meal and something people can eat for breakfast and dessert! It can be changed if consumer trends change too. We make a sweet hummus too which is just getting people’s minds round the concept, because chicpeas don’t taste of anything you can really play around with the recipes.

When should we eat hummus?

It is full of protein so it is actually a really good start to the day. I would happily say, either a normal hummus or a savoury hummus with toast and avocado in the morning, is an extremely healthy breakfast as there is absolutely no sugar. Alternatively the sweet hummus has banana and avocado and  is a really yummy healthy chocolatey hummus as there is no refined sugar and it is full of energy. Otherwise for lunch, as a side, as a snack. I mix it in to pasta , have it in meat or in sandwiches. I use it in every meal!

TO READ THE REST OF THIS BLOG, HEAD TO THE BLOG PAGE ON THE NATURALLY PEACHY WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE 

TO READ THE REST OF THIS BLOG, HEAD TO THE BLOG PAGE ON THE NATURALLY PEACHY WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE 

My ChicP interview with Goodness Guru

Isa from Goodness Guru approached me to talk about the ins and outs of starting a food business...

I hope the below is helpful to anybody starting up in the food industry. 

 

What came first the food waste or the hummus?

The food waste…. The only reason I started ChicP was because I was creating hummus and dips from leftovers and tired of seeing huge amounts of food wasted at all the food events I was working at, as well as seeing it in high street chains at the end of the day.

 

When did you first have the idea for Chic P?

I was working in Central London in a lovely office job but got tired of not being satisfied by what I was doing. I have always been passionate about sustainability and food waste and with this job, there was nothing sustainable, in fact it was quite the opposite.

I was going home in the evenings and turning leftovers into hummus. There was never a supermarket hummus that I really enjoyed buying and I realised that there were no dip brands offering a sustainable solution as well as being healthy. ChicP hummus has half raw vegetables which means that it has half the amount of fat to normal hummus, not to mention that the vegetables are all class 2 and/or from surplus!

 

How did you go about scaling up production from in your kitchen to a factory?

This was one of my biggest challenges. It took me months to find a manufacturer. I started developing with one but then had to find someone else due to minimum order quantities. It requires a lot of ringing around, patience and asking people in all areas of the food industry. Finally, one recommendation got me to where I am now, however they still have minimum order quantities so I am continually doing lots of events at weekends and trying to find more stockists in order to make sure I sell all the hummus I produce each week. If I can’t, I donate some to food charities.

 

How did you undergo the process of meeting with stockists?

It is different for every stockist but normally it is a case of finding out who the buyer is for each retailer and getting in contact. I advise you to be well prepared - know everything about your product, try and be as retail ready as possible and know your prices.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge in starting your own business?

Finding a manufacturer and my short shelf life. I am still struggling with the shelf life! Being a chilled product is not easy...

 

What’s been the most rewarding part of running your own business?

Seeing it grow from one step to the next has been satisfying and it’s very rewarding to see the hummus now in all the top London Independents, especially Wholefoods. Getting to this stage and no longer making the hummus myself is a huge weight off my shoulders… however, there are just as many challenges in different areas!

 

What tips do you have for maintaining a good work / life balance?

I believe that it is hugely important to keep a balance between your work life and having a social life. This was something I made sure of when I started ChicP. I work very hard but still make sure I see my friends during the week - luckily ChicP is a relatively social business so I can have quite a bit of fun at weekends if I’m doing events.

It is easy to get sucked to your work but try and say yes to social things and get up earlier the next morning or work later the following evening if you need to catch up.

This goes the same with exercise - I will always try and make time in the day to exercise and the joy of working for myself means that if I need a break in the middle of the day, I can jump outside and go on a run.

 

What is the health motto you live by?

Work hard, play hard.

 

What is your guilty pleasure?

Ooooh tricky one… I have a massive sweet tooth, so anything sweet. Normally homemade cake or nut butters and chocolate.

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a food business?

I would advise them to really really research the market first to make sure that if they are sure about their idea, it is different from anything else out there in their category. There is a huge amount of competition and the shelves are becoming more saturated so if it doesn’t have strong USP’s, it’s going to be difficult to reach those shelves. Sustainability is also a key factor in 2017…

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Root to Stem

FROM ROOT TO STEM

2016,

This blog was written by Isabella Florence. Isabella kindly offered to write about the Root to Stem trend which is what ChicP thrives upon. She is a keen sustainable foodie and has a great blog. Check it out here: www.concealerandkale.com

Have you ever looked in your bin half way through peeling and chopping your ingredients for dinner and thought “mmm, that looks delicious?” No, neither have I. But here’s why one fast spreading food trend of 2016 – “root to stem” cooking - is about to show us why we’re wrong.

Where does it all come from?

Last year we saw innovative chefs beginning to use what most people would consider sad, old vegetable scraps destined for the rubbish to create fresh, exciting and delicious plates of food. The idea behind this thrifty way of cooking developed from the popular and longstanding “nose to tail” approach to meat, which aims to use every part of an animal (hopefully not actually the nose though, because that sounds gross). Whilst taking that idea and applying it to fruits and vegetables came from a curiosity in the kitchen about flavours and textures, rather than a need to use scrappy bits up, it does have an undeniable effect on waste.

Food waste? Really?

Food waste is a major issue. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink a year, much of which we could probably have eaten. When we buy vegetables from supermarkets (rather than farmer’s markets) we’re buying something that’s been tidied up and trimmed down to make it easy to cook and easy to prepare. As supermarket’s pump out perfect carrot after perfect carrot we lose our awareness of what real vegetables look like and what to do with the whole vegetable. So if we are presented with a sprouty green carrot top we have no idea what to do with it, and straight in the bin it goes!

What is it all about? 

Root to stem cooking is showing us that there’s still goodness and flavour in those odds and ends. The obvious option is to use the leftovers to make stock, but there’s only so many litres of vegetable stock my freezer can hold and in all honesty I’ll probably never defrost it and use it because I find defrosting things one of the most painful kitchen tasks known to man. With this in mind, I looked around to find some more exciting recipes using the skins, tops and any other left over bits of the veggies we usually have at home.

Some tips to cook? 

You know that woody, knobbly bit on a broccoli? Turns out you can totally eat it and it’s yummy! It tastes much more delicate and subtle than it looks. Once you’ve sliced off the tough bits and outside skin, it works well sliced finely in to ribbons with a peeler and dressed with some olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan and pepper.

You could also try using fennel stalks as a bed for fish if you’re steaming or baking it in foil, which will fragrance it with a beautiful fennel flavour. Chuck in a few capers and you’re good to go! Or add the delicious, peppery raw leaves of a cauliflower to a salad to mix it up. If you’re not in to that you could also steam them lightly, as you would kale, and enjoy a big nutritious pile of them as a side dish.

You can even jazz up those boring potato skins by frying them in oil until crispy and serving with a sprinkle of salt and some flavoured hummus or a fresh guacamole for dipping.

Whilst we don’t all have to start pickling rinds and trying to make soup out of onion skins, simply using up a whole broccoli or cauliflower when we buy one would be a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping that this changing way we view our veg will filter down to the supermarkets and result in more “real” and natural looking food on the shelves!

 

                                                                                           Isabelle Florence

About Climate Change

This post is from Zen Habits Journal - I have chosen 3 of his points that go hand in hand with ChicP's ethos. He states that these individual choices are all small measures but you may as well start now...

1. You’re better off eating vegetables from Argentina than red meat from a local farm.

Eating local is lovely, but most carbon emissions involving food don’t come from transportation — they come from production, and the production of red meat and dairy is incredibly carbon-intensive.

Emissions from red-meat production come from methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Experts disagree about how methane emissions should be counted in the planet’s emissions tally, but nearly everyone agrees that raising cattle and sheep causes warming that is an order of magnitude morethan that from raising alternate protein sources like fish and chicken (the latter of which have the added benefit of creating eggs).

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon, a typical household that replaces 30 percent of its calories from red meat and dairy with a combination of chicken, fish and eggs will save more carbon than a household that ate entirely local food for a full year.

Yes, eating nothing but locally grown fruits and vegetables would reduce your carbon footprint the most. But for people not ready to make that leap, reducing how much meat you eat matters more than going local.

2. Eat everything in your refrigerator.

Scientists have estimated that up to 40 percent of American food is wasted — which amounts to almost 1,400 calories per person every day. Food waste occupies a significant chunk of our landfills, adding methane to the atmosphere as it decomposes. Even more important, wasted food adds to the amount of food that needs to be produced, which is already a big part of our carbon load.

How can you waste less? For food shopping, plan out meals ahead of time, use a shopping list and avoid impulse buys. At home, freeze food before it spoils. If you find yourself routinely throwing prepared food away, reduce portion sizes.

3. Buy less stuff, waste less stuff. 

It’s not just car manufacturing that adds to carbon emissions. Other consumer goods can have a huge impact: Making that new MacBook Proburns the same amount of carbon as driving 1,300 miles from Denver to Cupertino, Calif., to pick it up in person.

At the other end of the product life cycle, reducing waste helps. Each thing you recycle is one fewer thing that has to be produced, and reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfills. But the recycling process consumes energy as well, so — depending on the material — it may not be as helpful as you might think. Recycling a magazine every day for an entire year saves less carbon than is emitted from four days of running your refrigerator.

It’s better not to consume the raw materials in the first place, so you may want to think carefully about whether you’re really going to use something before you buy it.

Of course, these individual choices are all small measures.

A sustainable solution that avoids severe damage to the planet will require fundamental changes in the global energy system: transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy and sharply reducing the number of cars that run on internal-combustion engines.

Advocating public policies that support the development of clean energy and efficient transportation is probably the most climate-friendly thing you can do. But cultural and behavioral change can be part of the solution as well. Might as well start now.

Waste Not Want Not - Our article with Clean & Lean

We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. We think this seasonal celebration is the time to start making an effort to waste less and appreciate more.

Clean and Lean is all about being kind to yourself. We need to apply this to the way we think of environment too. It is very easy to forget the journey our food has been on before it has reached our plate. Thinking about the work, time and money involved in each item in our fridge, it might makes us reconsider the amount we throw into the bin.

Farmers all over the country work hard all year round to provide us with fresh fruit and vegetables. Before they’ve even reached the supermarkets, thousands of tons are rejected because of their shape and size because they fail “cosmetic standards”. This is hugely detrimental to our farmers. So much delicious produce is thrown away simply because it doesn’t ‘look good enough’.

The cost of throwing away wasted food is expensive and is harming ourenvironment. More fuel is needed to transport the waste and the vast amount of food that is going to landfill is contributing to global warming

The sad thing is most of the food that is wasted in the UK(4.1 million tons or 61%) is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed.

ChicP’s top tips on ‘How To Waste Less’:

  • Sell by dates are merely a guide, food can be eaten days after. Do not throw away food because it is the ‘due’ date. Taste, smell and if it seems fine, it will be perfectly edible!
  • When buying food, think about the week that lies ahead. Big weekly shops often means half the food ends in the bin. Buying daily or every other day is much more economical, environmental and often more beneficial for your health as the food is fresher.

My tips on what to do with food that is going off:

  • I absolutely love making dips from meals that I have cooked the day before. If I don’t want the same roast vegetables and feta again, I’ll blend them into a creamy dip and eat with raw vegetable sticks and delicious healthy crackers.
  • You can also whiz up a soup with all the leftovers.
  • If you’re cooking chicken, I like to roast a whole chicken – it goes much further! Then make a stock from the bones for a soup the next day.
  • I hardly ever go to the supermarket; I often buy from farmers markets in London – you can get large quantities of vegetables and fruit in bowls for £1.
  • Baking is another great way to use up ingredients. Bananas, pears, carrots and other vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, flours or oils you may be trying to get rid of can all be mixed together to create a healthy smoothie,  breakfast bar, or sweet treat. Get creative.
  • If you really don’t want to eat your mouldy avocados, mash them up with some coconut oil and make a face or hair mask.

Daniella Isaacs
Instagram: @daniellaisaacs

https://cleanandlean.com/waste-not-want-not/